Silks Palace at National Palace Museum 故宫晶华 @ Taipei
Our visit of National Palace Museum was followed by a sumptuous lunch at Silks Palace at National Palace Museum 故宫晶华.
Silks Palace, located in the grounds of the National Palace Museum (NPM), adjacent to museum’s Administrative Building to the west of the main exhibition hall. Amid the lush green surroundings,the building is impressive in sight with facade of great curtain of glass panels integrated with cracked-ice effect structure.
Silks Palace at night (Photo taken from internet)
Opens its doors to the world in June 2008, Silks Palace houses two basement levels and three levels above ground with a capacity of 1,200 diners. Level B2 is a gourmet food court for renowned local delicacies from throughout Taiwan, but with great presentation, Level B1 is a large Central Kitchen. The first and second floors feature signature dishes from Cantonese cuisine, as well as other classic selections from the other famous Chinese Eight Cuisines. A multi-functional banquet hall at third floor complete this splendid restaurant.
The restaurant is well designed to show off a brilliant marriage of modern design and ancient Chinese elements from various dynasties. From the liberal use of decorative motifs from the museum’s collection of Chinese art and antiques to the reproductions of Tang Dynasty paintings of buxom maidens as well as ritual vessels and musical instruments used in ancient sacrificial rites which alluringly used to both decorate columns and act as lamps and lanterns. There are also greatest paintings from the museum’s superb collection are melded into the dining experience either via collages or in grand wall murals, adding that much more sophistication to the upscale experience. Grandeur with elegance best describes the ambiance at the hotel!
We dine in one of the private rooms on the second floor that day. There are ten private VIP rooms with capacities from eight to 20 lie on the sides of the atrium, each named after a legendary artist such as Lan Ting Ju 兰亭居, Dong Po Ju 东坡居, Bai Shi Ju 白石居, Da Qian Ju 大千居 & etc. Our room is elegantly decorated with ceramics from the Sung dynasty, coupled with acrylic Chinese lanterns and mirror glass for a simple yet chic look.
Still remember the “Three Treasures of the National Palace Museum”? We are not only can admire them in the museum but also can savouring them here at Silks Palace! Taken after the museum’s artifacts such as : Meat-shaped Stone, Jadeite Cabbage, and more, Silks Palace presents the art of traditional Chinese cuisine with a modern touch, where each dish is a work of art crafted to resemble the museum’s imperial treasures. It is the surreal amalgamation of past and present. I enjoyed my trip to the NPM and my dining experience at Silks Palace further elevated the experience to truly memorable one.
Barbecued Suckling Pig Combination 乳猪烧味集
Our lunch was kick started with this beautiful appetizer platter comprised of pickled tomato, chestnuts and pumpkin, roasted duck slices, barbecued suckling pig as well as Salmon roll.
The sourish pickled tomato, good to prep my palate for more food to come. The Osmanthus infused pumpkin and chestnut were refreshing to the palate.
Who can resist this suckling pig with superbly crispy skin and tender meat? Definitely not me!
The roasted duck was just mediocre.
Smoked Salmon wrapped with French beans and topped with mustard sauce and caviar. Love the multitude of textures and flavors from the different ingredients that worked magic in my mouth.
Sauteed Prawn with Egg White 雪夜桃花
Sit elegantly on snowy fried egg white and accompanied by the poached baby bok choy, the sauteed prawn with savoury sauce was extremely fresh judging from its bounciness. The egg white with minimal seasoning complemented the prawn well and it hit pleasurable note for flavors and freshness.
Double-boiled Morel with Bamboo Pith Soup 弦纹鼎竹笙羊肚菌
Served with a ceramic replica Ting cauldron was a soothing broth of double-boiled Morel with chicken and bamboo pith. The flavour was not too overpowering with essence of chicken and mushroom nicely pronounced. We were told that Jinhua Ham was added to enhance the flavor and it was indeed a satisfying soup which instantly warm my soul and tummy.
Meat-shaped Stone 故宫肉形石
Although we missed the opportunity to see this precious piece of masterpiece in the museum but we were compensated with the “real” Dopo Meat here. Carefully chosen pork knuckle with exquisite layers of fat and lean meat is stewed for hours to achieve such a gorgeous texture of melt-in-the-mouth porcine goodness. Each bite of sumptuous layers of pork was unctuously tasty and moreish.
Jadeite Cabbage with Dried Scallop Sauce 翠玉白菜
When the dish came before our eyes, it was hard to hold our awe. It looked almost like the sculpture we’ve seen hours before in the museum. Almost, not exactly but close enough.
Use only the most tender part of Chinese cabbage sourced from the farms of mid-Taiwan, and only vegetable with comparable size and color to the artifact is chosen. Deftly boil it in a premium of chicken and ham, and serve it as a hot dish with a braised broth sauce with dried scallop. Carefully put the cabbage on the plate and cut it vertically then pour the sauce onto the vegetable. Voila, you will be rewarded with a braised to soft vegetable that yield natural sweetness and accentuated by a sheen of tasty sauce. The insects of the original sculpture are represented by mini-shrimps.
It’s not only a beauty for eyes, also a heart-winning dish for its mesmerizing taste.
Smoked Grouper with Tea Leaves 白毫醺蓝斑
Smoked to a perfection of golden hue, our fish course was a delicate piece of grouper fillet served with mustard sauce and prettied up with micro herbs and edible flower. The fish was flaky and succulent with a discernible tea aroma.
Fried Rice with Dried Scallop and Abalone 瑶柱鲍鱼饭
Also served in a replica Ting cauldron, the fried rice is to me an incarnation of Italian Risotto. Taiwan rice with high glutinous character was cooked to a wetter rendition studded with abalone, scallop, mushroom and prawn. Those premium ingredients turned the classic and ordinary fried rice to a notch of lavishness and it was ravishingly flavourful.
Fresh Seasonal Fruits 宝岛水果盘
Classic Desserts in Chinese Curio Box 多宝格御点集
Once used to store and display curios, it is now used to display handmade curio-like snacks and desserts which the emperors once enjoyed and adored. Dessert items are changed periodically.
Our curio box was beautifully presented filled with dainty pieces of adorable looking desserts.
Jadeite Cabbage Tart
The jadeite cabbage was made from crystal skin (similar with Har Gao dim sum 虾饺) with green bean paste filling .
Rice cake rolls with sweetened black glutinous and pine nut topped with desiccated coconut.
Bun in peach shape with red bean paste filling.
Donkey Roll 驴打滚
It’s a traditional Chinese dessert of red bean paste rolled in pounded glutinous rice cake topped with soy bean powder.
Green Bean Cake
Pumpkin dessert with custard filling.
Osmanthus and red bean layer jelly.
Verdict: It’s a fantastic gastronomic adventure which greatly complement the museum’s cultural relics. It wonderfully delivering the unmatched historical culture of the Chinese culinary arts to your palate for tasteful enlightenment. The price of the Imperial Treasures Feast could be slightly steep but I think it is worth to splurge a little more for the exceptional food creations, posh environment and charming service.
Silks Palace at National Palace Museum 故宫晶华
221 Chishan Road Section 2, Shilin, Taipei, Taiwan. 台北市士林区至善路二段221号
Tel: +886 2 2882-9393
Dining posts @ Taiwan